Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

Fresh Tomato & Basil Pasta

My garden has been producing the most beautiful produce so I decided to use the tomatoes and basil in a simple dish but keep it fresh to highlight these wonderful flavours. This is quick and easy to make and very yummy.

Ingredients

your choice of dried pasta
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 shallots, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan to serve
1/4 cup olive oil

Method

Boil the pasta as per packet instructions and drain. While pasta is cooking heat oil in a pan and fry the garlic and onion. I p-refer to burn mine a bit as it adds some nice sweet flavours to the pasta. Once fried, add in the cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes and basil, mix together and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the grated parmesan and there you go. As simple as that.

Spinach & Feta Ravioli with Lemon & Thyme Burnt Butter

Spinach & Feta Ravioli

If I could eat burnt butter on everything I would. I think it is just one of the most amazing flavours out there and the fact that it is so easy to make is perfect. I like to add lemon to burnt butter as I love the acidity. I hope you enjoy

Ingredients

Pasta

1.5 cups flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Filling

1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1/3 cup crumbed feta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Measure the flour out on a work surface, make a well and add the eggs and salt. Start beating the eggs with a fork and bit by bit incorporate the flour to form you dough. Get your hands dirty and knead the dough for 6 – 8 minutes. If you press your finger into the dough it should spring back. Rest the dough in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

Combine all the filling ingredients and mix well. Once your filling is made and the pasta has rested grab your pasta roller and roll out until the second thinnest setting. Because ravioli is essentially 2 layers of pasta it should be thinner than fettuccine. Lay out half of the rolled out pasta and spoon on the filling. About 1 heaped teaspoon per ravioli. Leave space in between the filling so that you are able to create the ravioli pockets.

Once the filling has been distributed use water and a finger and wet the edges of the pasta and in between the filling. Now lay the other half of your rolled out pasta over the filling and work quick to make sure the pasta seals while the water is still wet. Make sure to push out all the air bubbles as any air bubbles will open the ravioli’s up when boiling making it watery and letting the filling come out. Cut with a ravioli cutter and boil in a large pot of salted water for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Ingredients

Roasted Tomatoes

450g cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, whole and slightly crushed
2 sprigs rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Method

Place all the ingredients in an oven proof dish and cook in the oven for 1 hour at 160 degrees Celsius.

Ingredients

Burnt Butter

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/3 salted cup butter
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method

Melt butter in a pan. Once melted add the thyme and cook further. The butter will start bubbling at the top and the smell with change to a nutty smell. This indicates that the butter is ready. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and stir well. Add the cooked pasta to the pan, mix to coat with the burnt butter and serve warm with the roasted tomatoes and shaved parmesan cheese. Enjoy

Creamy Truffle Mushroom & Bacon Pasta

Creamy Truffle, Bacon and Porcini Pasta

I had a prosciutto truffle pasta at a wine bistro and it was awful so I promised myself that I will make a better version. The sauce on the pasta I had tasted really artificial which to me meant that it was not a cream sauce but a rehydrated packet sauce or pre-made packet sauce. Very disappointing. This is a much better version. Enjoy

Ingredients

Pasta

1.5 cups flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Method

This is best made on a flat surface but you could use a bowl. Put the flour and salt on your counter top and make a well in the middle. Crack the two eggs into the well and start beating the eggs with a fork. Slowly start to incorporate the flour until it becomes thick and then get rid of the fork and get your hands in there. The dough takes quite some time to knead. Around 8 minutes should do it. When the dough is formed and feeling elastic wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. If you don’t live in the tropics like me with a room temperature of 30 degrees celsius you can rest the pasta outside.

Once rested its time to roll out your pasta with a pasta roller. Roll the dough out first and then start with your biggest pasta roller setting and work your way down. I use setting 3 for fettuccine. Once rolled and cut dust with flour and cover with a towel. Set aside until ready to cook.

Sauce

1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced bacon
300 ml thickened cream
salt and pepper to taste
truffle oil to taste ( I added about 1 tsp)

Method

Firstly get a large pot of salted boiling water on for the pasta. Once boiling cook the pasta for 3 – 4 minutes.

Fry the bacon in a pan for 3 – 4 minutes then add the mushrooms and fry for a further 3 – 4 minutes until it starts to turn golden on the edges. Sprinkle over the flour and mix well then pour in the cream, season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer until thickened. Once cooked add the strained cooked pasta and toss together. Turn off the heat, add the truffle oil and mix well. Serve hot with shaved parmesan. Enjoy

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Comfort food for dinner today. This takes some time to cook as the sauce really needs time to cook out. Of course there are easier ways… store bought pasta and store bought sauce but making something from scratch is quite rewarding and tastes better too.

Ingredients

Bolognese Sauce

700 g beef mince
300 g pork mince
2 carrots, grated
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup of tomato puree
1 cup beef stock
1 cup milk
1/2 cup white wine
sea salt and black pepper
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup parmesan
extra parmesan to serve

Method

Heat some oil in a pot and fry off the garlic, onion, carrot and celery. Don’t let it burn. Once the veggies are softened add you meat and fry until the mince is no longer pink. Add you white wine to the pot and allow to evaporate while stirring to pick up all the flavours from the bottom of the pot.

Now add your canned tomato, tomato puree, milk and beef stock. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 – 3 hours. Once cooked stir in the butter and parmesan just before serving.

Pasta

1.5 cups flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Method

This is best made on a flat surface but you could use a bowl. Put the flour and salt on your counter top and make a well in the middle. Crack the two eggs into the well and start beating the eggs with a fork. Slowly start to incorporate the flour until it becomes thick and then get rid of the fork and get your hands in there. The dough takes quite some time to knead. Around 8 minutes should do it. When the dough is formed and feeling elastic wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Once rested its time to roll. I use a pasta roller. Roll the dough out first and then start with your biggest pasta roller setting and work your way down. I use setting 4 for my spaghetti. Once rolled and cut dust with flour and cover with a towel.

Cook in salted boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes and serve with bolognese sauce and grated parmesan. Enjoy

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

I remember being in my early 20’s. South Africa had just started opening Woolworth’s outlets at petrol stations, open 24 hours a day and they sold an amazing greek pasta salad. This dish is not only delicious but it holds a lot of memories for myself and my hubby. Being able to get an amazing meal like this at 2 am in the morning after a long night out was like heaven.

Pasta

Ingredients

1.5 cups flour
2 eggs
extra flour for working the dough

Method

Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack in the eggs. Start beating the eggs with a fork and slowly start working in the flour until the dough starts to form. On a well floured surface start working the dough until it feels elastic and not dry. I add a little water if the dough seems a bit dry. Once the dough is done wrap it in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature. As I live in Singapore where room temperature is 28 degrees Celcius I alternate between outside and in the fridge every 20 minutes with the latter being outside of the fridge.

After the hour of resting is done get a big pot of salted water to boil while you start rolling out your pasta. First roll the dough out with a rolling pin on a floured surface until it is able to roll through your pasta roller. I start at setting 6 on my titania roller and end at setting 2 for this particular pasta.

Next, cut the pasta dough into small squares and one by one using the thick side of a chop stick and roll each square sealing it with a little bit of egg at the end to make it stick. This process takes quite a bit if time, so if you don’t have time use a store bought penne pasta.

Cook in the boiling water for about 3 minutes and strain. Allow to cool

Other Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup greek feta cheese
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/5 cup olives, pitted and chopped

Dressing

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Beat the vinegar and olive oil together.

Add all the above ingredients to the pasta and enjoy.

Antipasto Pasta

Antipasto Pasta

What is antipasto pasta… Well allow me to explain. For those of you living in Asia, you would have noticed that shops have been closed due to Chinese New Year. What is great about this is that it is the perfect opportunity to get creative with what is left in the fridge… I had a couple of typical antipasto ingredients, which is also what inspired the name of this dish. It is very quick and easy to make.

Ingredients

250 g dried pasta
1 large green chili (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 cup sliced small tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced olives
100 g sundried tomatoes from a bottle (keep the oil)
1 avo, cubed
1/4 cup crumbed feta cheese
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Method

Cook the pasta as per the instructions given on the packet. While the pasta is cooking, fry the garlic and chili in a pan with a little bit of the sundried tomato oil. Fry for 2 – 3 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, add all the ingredients including about 3 table spoons of the sundried tomato oil, mix well and serve.

Roasted Pumpkin & Chicken Pasta

Roasted pumpkin & chicken pasta

Roasted pumpkin is a great way of adding a natural sweet flavour to your meal. It can be used in salads, as a side veggie, in a pasta as used in this recipe and many more. I love using roasted pumpkin with salads, and thought that I would try and add it to a pasta.

Ingredients

200 g linguine pasta
300 g pumpkin (butternut or any other orange pumpkin will work), cubed
1/2 cup feta cheese
300 g chicken, cubed

Sauce

1 cup spring onion
1 hand full macadamia nuts
20 ml olive oil
1 tsp parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh thyme
salt & black pepper

Method

Start with the pumpkin as it takes a while to cook. Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Add 10 ml olive oil and black pepper to the pumpkin and mix well to coat evenly. Place in a oven tray and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the pumpkin becomes slightly crispy at the top. While the pumpkin is busy, cook the pasta as instructed on the packet. Fry the chicken in a bit of olive oil, add 200 ml water and allow to cook until the water has evaporated.

For the sauce, place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Put the pasta, sauce, pumpkin and chicken into a big bowl an mix together well. Serve with crumbed feta at the top, and enjoy.